Bianca Pagdanganan and Yuka Saso raised the curtains to their 2020 Tokyo Olympics campaign with contrasting performances in the opening round of the women's individual golf tournament on Wednesday (August 4) at the Kasumigaseki Country Club.
Pagdanganan, one of the longest drivers in the circuit, wasted no time establishing herself as a medal contender in a 60-woman field after stringing consecutive birdies in the two initial holes.
While the sweltering course began to take its toll on the participants from there, the 23-year-old LGPA campaigner remained calm and composed as she hit three more birdies on the 5th, 14th, and 16th holes.
Pagdanganan capped off an impressive first round outing with a 2-under par 69 for a tie at 7th place.
Meanwhile, Saso, one of the country's top medal bets, sustained a rough start with a 3-over 74 for a 47th-place finish in Day One.
The 20-year-old wunderkind struggled to build momentum in the front line as bogeys on the second and sixth holes prevented her from picking up steam.
Saso, the reigning US Women's Open champion, attempted to surge in the back nine but to no avail after dropping bogeys on 11th, 16th and 17th holes.
Pagdanganan looks to sustain her fine form while Saso aims to bounce back when the two Filipina athletes return to action on Thursday for the second round.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.